In a sharp rebuke to his former boss, former US Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday that Donald Trump was wrong to think Pence could have taken action to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election that Trump has falsely claimed was stolen from him.
After losing his re-election bid Democrat Joe Biden in November 2020, the Republican Trump pressured Pence to block congressional certification of the results in an attempt to stay in power. Pence, a loyal lieutenant during the four years of Trump's tumultuous presidency, opted not to block certification.
Trump on Sunday issued a fresh statement saying that Pence could have "overturned" the election.
"President Trump is wrong," Pence said in a speech in Florida to the conservative Federalist Society. "I had no right to overturn the election."
"The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. And frankly there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president," Pence added.
A mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in a failed bid to prevent Congress from formally certifying the election results. Pence was presiding over the proceedings and, along with US lawmakers at the Capitol, fled from the rioters.
In a speech moments before the attack, Trump repeated his false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud and called upon Pence to "do the right thing" and block certification of the election results.
"All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people," Trump told his supporters during the Jan. 6 speech.
Later some of the rioters at the Capitol chanted "Hang Mike Pence" during the rampage and some set up a makeshift gallows.
Trump at a rally in Texas on Saturday said that if he were to run for president and win in 2024, he would pardon people charged with criminal offenses in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.